Autogyro Basics


The Autogyro

An autogyro, also known as autogiro, gyroplane, gyrocopter, or rotaplane, is a type of rotorcraft which utilises an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift, and an engine-powered propeller, similar to that of a fixed-wing aircraft, to provide thrust. While similar to a helicopter rotor in appearance, the autogyro's rotor must have air flowing up and through rotor disc in order to generate rotation. The lift vector is tilted backwards creating lift and drag.


The Helicopter

The helicopter has an engine driven rotor or rotors. In the helicopter's rotor the air is flowing down and through rotor disc and the lift vector is tilted forward to create both lift and forward thrust. Single rotor helicopters also have a small tail rotor for torque compensation.

Like the autogyro the helicopter can fly in autorotation with the engine idling or stopped providing the possibility to descend to a safe landing in the case of engine failure.